As the hummingbirds cross Illinois heading south for the winter, residents of the Chicago area will have the chance to see the birds over the next several weeks.
But how do you attract hummingbirds to your garden?
According to the Chicago Botanic Garden, brightly colored bird feeders are traditionally used to attract small birds. To create the nectar, use one part sugar to four parts water and change three to four times a week in hot weather.
The garden said to boil the sugar-water mixture for a few minutes, then let it cool before filling the feeder. Typically, feeders will only need a few inches of the mixture to feed the birds.
Hummingbird feeders left out until the end of the month won’t delay migration, the garden noted, as the birds know when it’s time to leave the area.
For those with a garden, experts have said hummingbirds tend to be drawn to red flowers, but one of their favorite plants is blue flowering sage.
According to the garden, hummingbirds tend to leave the Chicago area around the second week of October.
Hummingbirds are typically in Illinois from May through October, according to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. During the winter season, the birds fly to Central America and Mexico.
Chicagoans could also see more waves of monarch butterflies pass through the city in the coming weeks, as many migrate south for the winter.
A wave of monarch butterflies has been in Chicago for about two weeks, with another probably descending from Wisconsin that should be in the city “soon,” according to Doug Taron, chief curator of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
“Different waves may only last a few days, but the whole migration phenomenon starts at the end of August, peaks right now and will slow down until the end of September,” Taron said.
All of the monarchs are on their way to Mexico, with many heading to the mountains about 160 kilometers west of Mexico City, he said. In the spring, the butterflies return to South Texas to lay eggs, the offspring of which return to Illinois to start the cycle again.
As waves of monarch butterflies migrate south during the colder months, Chicagoans could see more groups floating around the city in the coming weeks.